Emma Shanahan

Emma Shanahan is the founder of Ambr design - a swim and activewear label known for its vibrant prints. Inspired by the beach and her upbringing on the Mornington Peninsula, Emma's work is unique and fresh, bringing an edge to the swimwear scene.


Where did you get the idea for your business?

I have lived on the Mornington Peninsula my whole life, creating a swimwear and circle towel range came naturally to me. I am always inspired by my surroundings, the stunning beaches and picturesque coastline. I wanted to create products for the target market that surrounded me. 


How did you get your business started?

I started my business by jumping straight into the deep end. I ordered 400 circle towels ready to arrive December 21, 2015. I had no idea what I was doing. I knew all about designing and making prints, but I didn't have any experience communicating with manufacturers and how to register a business. I thought to myself at the end of the day its just time and money. If things don't go to plan what I have gained will outweigh what I had lost. The friendships, knowledge and experience I have gained throughout this process have been extremely valuable. Lucky for me things did go to plan.



What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?

I have gained so much knowledge over the past year after starting my business journey. I have learnt how to make a dream become a reality. I learnt how to deal with manufacturers, how to understand taxes, how to work with wholesales and customers, how to deal with shipping and importing, how to build a website and work with the logistics of coding, web design and marketing ... I could go on forever!


How important has it been for you to have a mentor?

My mentors have been the little community that surrounds my life. My lovely parents, brother, partner and friends. These people have been my rock, my inspiration and guidance throughout this whole process. They have listened to me stress about fabric weight and trimmings, they have helped me make decisions in regards to colourways and quantities, they have believed in me throughout the whole journey, I cannot thank them enough.  

What are your top three tips for starting a business?

1. Dream big because why not? You need to believe in yourself. If you have an idea run with it. Take over the world!


2. Be sure to keep everything. Take notes, scribbles, photos of any ideas or lessons that you come across during your time working on your business. Sometimes the most amazing ideas come to you in the strangest place. Note it down.


3. Always remember where you started.


Emma Shanahan is a graduate of the RMIT Bachelor of Arts, (Textile Design, Screen and Digital printing). 

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"Dream big because why not; you need to believe in yourself." - Emma Shanahan
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